A water main break has shut down all courtrooms and offices at the two main court facilities in Trenton, N.J. (WPVI)
By Nora Muchanic
Updated 2 hrs 1 min ago
TRENTON, N.J. (WPVI) -- A water main break has shut down all courtrooms and offices at the two main court facilities in Trenton, N.J.
The break was reported after 7 a.m. Monday near the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex in the unit block of Market Street.
Haddon Heights, N.J. attorney Dave Capozzi was one of many people who arrived at the complex Monday morning to argue a case.
But they were all turned away after a 16-inch water main ruptured, flooding and shutting down Market Street.
"I had no idea," said Capozzi. "I was coming up for an appeal today that was to be argued. I did not realize this was happening."
"I had no idea what was going on, and I went to the building and they said, 'Closed!'" said legal secretary Yvonne Washington. "Wow, amazing. I see all the water people are out."
"It's due to, you know... we've had some extreme weather conditions and temperatures have been very low," said Trenton Public Works Director Merkle Cherry. "We've had personnel out here since about 5:00 this morning."
The water main break turned the area around the justice complex into a skating rink.
Ice covered the road and sidewalks. It also caused the shutdown of the Mercer County Courthouse building adjacent to the complex.
"We showed up for court today, and the door is locked and the sign says no court," said attorney Thomas Mallon. "Frustrating? Very frustrating, but what are you going to do?"
Officials say they had no choice but to close the justice building.
"Number one, we have no fire protection," said David Millstein of the New Jersey Division of Property Management. "Number two, we have no toilet facilities or any type of water for the building itself. With that all - your health and safety issues - we have to close the building."
Throughout the morning, people who didn't get the word arrived thinking nothing was wrong.
It was not good news for one mom who was bringing her 2 year old to the daycare center inside the justice building.
"Yeah, I had to work today but I'm going to have to call off because of the main break," said Sonia Alicea of Trenton. "It's unfortunate."
"Today was our scheduled oral argument," said attorney Gil Brooks. "We've been waiting for about a year for this oral argument. No, I didn't know it was closed."
In addition to the court complex, a number of residential customers in the area reported loss of water service.
Icy conditions resulting from the break prompted police to close the exit ramp from Route 29 to Market Street.
Motorists were being advised to seek alternate routes.
Utility crews are on the scene and repairs are underway.